So I know some folks will bristle at this question because it pigeonholes us, but I am starting work on an anthology book with two university professors on how technology may be changing the way students are writing and teachers are teaching in the classroom. We have about ten teachers working on classroom research for the anthology (that also focuses on the tension between technology integration and standardized testing and curriculum).

We are working (via Google Docs) on an opening chapter and a prospectus for publishers and one of my colleagues deemed this technology-influenced composition "e-writing," and I just don't like that term at all (he wasn't set on the word, just wanted something there as a place setter).

Any ideas on what to call this new kind of writing?
Brainstorms are OK.

One of my colleagues in the National Writing Project somewhat playfully calls it "dComposition," which is catchy.

Thanks for any brain waves.


Tags: book, project, terminology

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I think that the writing can be classified in several ways:

1) Technopersonal writing -- Instead of interpersonal -- it is writing that communicates between people and it is a skill that should be taught like we teach our kids to shake hands and look people in the eye. Whether IM or discussion areas on a wiki, understanding how to communicate between each other is important, from emoticons to not using all caps (shouting) there is a definite etiquette for this sort of writing.

2) Professional writing for a global audience -- This is truly where my class spends most of its time. The wikis and blogs that are created (wikis for fact, blogs for opinion) both have a global audience. I've seen that students after taking some time evolve into a higher standard of performance IF THEY KNOW OTHERS ARE READING as evidenced by commenting. When they realize that someone else is out there, they usually sit up a little straighter and really take more time to do a good job.

That is the way that I work with it in my classroom and I grade accordingly depending on the type of communication it is. (I allow some IM speak in discussion/ techno-personal communications) none in what I call "professional writing." (I want them to be "professional students" after all!
You narrow it down a bit in interesting ways.
But it feels as if that is now too specific (am I picky or what?).
My mind is trying to wrap around a more global term.
But it may be that there are too many variables for such an exercise.

One thing we see in many of the chapter proposals is the idea of how audience plays a role in tech-infused composition. The world is coming closer.

Collaborative writing?
Hi Carolyn
This is one aspect of it, that's for sure.
But not the whole story.
Some writers use technology to change their writing just for themselves, by themselves.
Thanks for the input.
I'm not sure I understand why it's not "writing" ... If you use a pencil is it p-Writing? Or would that be a pen? If you use a typewriter, is that a different word? What's the driver behind this?
Good point and I don't have an answer as to why we need a new term.
Maybe we don't.
I was scrolling down the list of comments to see if anyone had made that point yet --

When we're online encountering ideas, we're thinking -- not ethinking, or dthinking, or *thinking, but thinking.

The same is true of writing -- writing online provides more opportunities for a discussion of audience, or rhetorical context.

Maybe Aristotle was the world's first blogger :)

All kidding aside, I don't think we need a new term. Possibly, the semantic argument detracts from the more essential conversation: specific methods to use these tools to foster critical awareness and critical thought.


Kevin - I rather agree with the previous post in that it is still 'writing', the process of taking their ideas and using a medium to record them. It's surely only the medium which is different be it mobile phone text IM or blogs, the ideas are surely the same. I must admit that I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to giving new technologies a new name - I took up web 2.0 as a title readily - however my colleagues in school have little idea what I am talking about when I use the term. If we are not careful we can make a simple process seem 'new' and this may put off those who do not realise that it is just a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.
p.s. I am not an old reactionary by the way, I just think we have to be more careful of the pace which we introduce new terms.
Good point on finding ourselves becoming "too cool for school" with terminology and leaving others behind.
We want our book project to be for all teachers, not just tech teachers, and so it is crucial that we keep our audience in mind.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Hi Elizabeth
Those names sound like trademarked items on the shelf, don't you think?
I do like the collaborative edge to the idea.
Thanks for sharing -- those are terms that I had not heard before.



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